Glucoamylase (also known as amyloglucosidase) is a type of digestive enzyme that cleaves or breaks off a free glucose molecule from the complex sugar-based chains that form starch or from the simpler sugar, maltose. The glucose that is freed can then be used as a source of energy for the body. The most potent form of supplemental glucoamylase is cultured from A. niger.
Basically, glucoamylase helps to break down starch that occurs naturally in most vegetables that we eat (in very high amounts in common foods like potatoes, corn, rice, and wheat) or is added as filler or processing additive in many prepared food products. It is a specific type of amylase (starch-digesting enzyme) that our bodies produce in the mouth and pancreas, but it may also be derived from non-animal sources.
Glucoamylase is often described separately from amylase because it digests starches in a particular way, removing free glucose molecules from the end of the starchy chains rather than simply breaking these longer chains simply into smaller chains. It is part of an extremely important group of enzymes that allow us to absorb nutrients and create energy from some of the most common plant foods that we eat.
The Health Benefits of Glucoamylase
Every day, human beings eat large amounts of starches, and while these carbohydrates have some nutritional value, they cannot be absorbed or digested by the body without the help of enzymes. Glucoamylase is one type of enzyme that can break down these starches into glucose, which is absorbable and usable. This helps take the heavy load off of our digestive processes, reducing many common digestive upsets such as heaviness, lethargy, bloating, gas and loose stools. Here are some of the health benefits of Glucoamylase.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
This enzyme, when combined with other enzymes has been shown to aid in easing the negative effects of irritable bowel syndrome. This double-blind, crossover study shows the efficacy of enzymes such as glucoamylase in optimizing digestion. Participants who ate a high-calorie, high-fat meal took digestive enzymes, and other placebo group participants did not. Their gastrointestinal symptoms were recorded over a period of 17 hours, and it was found that people taking the enzymes had statistically significantly reduction in bloating, flatulence, and the sensation of fullness.
Digestive Upset & Gastrointestinal Issues:
Another double-blind, placebo-controlled human trial found that enzymes containing glucoamylase helped decrease negative digestive upset in a group of hospital patients who had gastrointestinal troubles, over an 8 week period. The enzymes helped the patients reduce such common symptoms as nausea, vomiting, gas, heartburn, bloating and loss of appetite.
Autoimmune Diseases & Inflammation:
Studies show that glucoamylase combined with other enzymes can also lower autoimmunity responses, as well as inflammation. In the case of autoimmune diseases, antigens and antibodies, when not cleared out over time, can create tissue damage in the body. This can lead to diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and some types of kidney disease. Some research suggests that enzymes can influence the immune system in beneficial ways.
May Help Digestive Organs:
Studies on animals show a clear link that supplemental enzymes reduce the load on digestive organs. Animal experiments show that enzymes create healthier intestinal brush borders and better nutrient absorption capacities in turkeys, mice and pigs.
May Help Balance Blood Sugar:
A recent 2009 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, laboratory studies found that glucoamylase plays a key role in starch digestion and in balancing blood sugar around meals in mice.
May Help Reduce Food Allergies:
Preliminary research suggests that enzymes like glucoamylase may help reduce food allergies. Specifically, carbohydrates like glucoamylase were beneficial in lowering allergies to several different foods.
How to Read the Units of Measurement for Glucoamylase
AGU (Glucoamylase or Amyloglucosidase Unit) is the FCC measurement for glucoamylase. One unit of glucoamylase activity is defined as the amount of glucoamylase that will liberate 0.1 Âµmol/min of p-nitrophenol from the PNPG Solution at pH 4.5 and 50Â°C on a casein substrate. The FCC notation stands for Foods Chemical Codex, and is a division of USP (United States Pharmacopeia). It sets standards for ingredients. In the case of enzymes, FCC is a standard assay used to accurately determine the activity of enzymes. The current compendium is FCC VI.
Even though it is extremely difficult to understand how the units are determined, it is crucial to understand that activity is uniform in order to compare the strength of one product to another or to make sure that you are taking enough of the enzyme to have an effect.
Dr. Edward F. Group III has his Naturopathic Doctorate, Clinical Herbalist, Holistic Health Practitioner, Clinical Nutritionist certifications, and is a Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition and the American Board of Functional Medicine. He founded Global Healing Center Inc. in 1998 which has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.
A dynamic author and speaker, Dr. Group focuses solely on spreading the message of health and wellness to the global community with the philosophy of full body cleansing, most importantly colon cleansing, consuming pure clean organic food, water, air, exercise and nutritional supplementation. Visit GlobalHealingCenter.com to learn more about living green and healthy!